Making the Shot

 Hey Blog!

Making great content is not about the equipment you have.  It's about how to maximize what you have to get the most out of is.  Today we are going to discuss how we created a national product campaign, in the studio, with only two lights.

The Project

The Ad agency came to us about this project with only 10 days to get it shot and delivered.  By the time we had the signed agreement, we were left with only 6 days.  This project was to highlight the collaboration between Delonghi and Nespresso on a series of three coffee makers.  Nothing like big-brand pressure!


We were lucky to find a day at a studio with a huge kitchen set and a great gear list on such short notice.  The client provided the products, food stylist, and props.  We provided the team of myself as DP, a DIT, a gaffer, and two grips.  This was essentially a low-budget shoot, but needed big-budget results.
Nespresso Delonghi coffee filmmaking video zeiss arri black magic blue kitchen espresso starbucks
The beautiful light through the kitchen window gives shape and
depth to the image.

Once on set with the products, we needed to work fast.  The first thing to think about was how to light a large set with reflective products and make it match the sophistication of the brand.

The key to lighting reflective objects is to light what the object is reflecting.  So, I would never shoot a light towards a reflective object.  It creates highlights that have these little starbursts around the edges.  Not a great look at all.  Here is what we did instead.

How We Did It

We hung a 12x12 silk over the set at around 9'-10'.  Then we shot a 2k, 10" fresnel up into the silk.  Our goal was not to fill the entire silk with light.  We would never been able to get the background to darken down if we did that.  Instead, we played with the barn doors and the spot and flood until we got a look we liked.  Then we balanced the exposure with the background practicals in the set.  The last thing we did was to shoot another 2k through another set window on camera left.  This gave us the nice window pattern to break up the monotony of the dark kitchen.

Here is the final video:


So often we as creatives over-think our work.  We try to use every light in the kit, thinking that more lights equals more quality.  This is rarely the case.  The best strategy, for me at least, is to think of the key light first.  Once that's figured out, the rest falls into place.

Happy Shooting!


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